Fisheries Co-management: Fisherfolk Part of the Solution

Looc FARMC: fish catch data collection (© Farmc Project Philippines)
Publicado: 29 Julio 2015
Última edición: 30 Septiembre 2020
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Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Councils (FARMC) constituted by representatives from local fisherfolk, government, academia, civil society and private sectors serve as a legal forum to jointly discuss and decide solutions for the sustainable use of municipal marine resources. Through the FARMC resource users have a legal status and are actively involved in the management of fisheries and aquatic resources and take part in the decision making process.


Sudeste Asiático
Scale of implementation
Arrecifes coralinos
Bosques costeros
Ecosistemas de agua dulce
Ecosistemas marinos y costeros
Humedales (pantano, turberas)
Pradera marina
Actores locales
Pesca y acuicultura
Pérdida de la biodiversidad
Usos conflictivos / impactos acumulativos
Cosecha insostenible, incluida la sobrepesca
Falta de capacidad técnica
Deficiente gobernanza y participación




decreasing fish stocks caused by ineffective management and destructive fishing practices Fish stocks are decreasing as a result of marine and freshwater habitat destruction, pollution caused by agricultural run-off and land based human activities, use of destructive fishing practices and over-fishing related to increasing population pressure. The solution addresses insufficient and ineffective fisheries management to ascertain income and livelihood of small-scale fishers at risk.


small-scale, subsistence fisherfolk, local government units as well as civil society

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

Each of the six building blocks contributes to the solution, however, strong stakeholder participation (building block 3) is the central element to bring together all other building blocks, and the main driver to make FARMC work (building blocks 1 and 2). Capacity building (building block 4) equips national and regional stakeholders with the necessary knowhow and skills, while linkages and networks (building block 6) helps to build partnerships for improving cooperation between stakeholders, and to provide technical and financial support. Rewards and incentives (building block 5) acts in a twofold way: it recognizes outstanding performance of local FARMCs and coordinators, but also stimulates innovations and multiplication of successful activities. Existence and applicability of an enabling legal framework, will and commitment of government agencies and community leaders are key factors for the establishment of successful FARMCs and thus for accomplishment of the solution.


FARMC is a successful social reform measure covering 99% of the Philippine’s coastal municipalities and cities. Fisherfolk became part of the solution and is involved in all steps of sustainable fisheries management processes. Partnerships and community leaders emerged adding social resilience. They help in establishing fish sanctuaries, marine protected areas, fisheries regulations and compliance. FARMC and Fish Catch Monitoring and Database Management System tested for nationwide application. Fish catch increased where FARMC works, improving livelihood of fisherfolk.


Where FARMCs have been established and work seriously, things have changed: fish catch for small-scale fishers is on the rise again. In Bani, Pangasinan, they have increased from 1-2 kg to 10-15 kg daily and a 40 kg yellowfin tuna now is usual. Well maintained mangroves, coral reefs and giant clam gardens have started to attract tourists. “If only there will be a strong and functional FARMC in each coastal village, then we will have bountiful seas again,” says Blademir Mancenido, member of the National Technical Committee that evaluates candidates nationwide for outstanding FARMCs. When a fisherman in the Philippines claims, “Our government cannot manage our coastal resources on its own, it needs us fisherfolk. We are part of the solution,” he will most likely be a member of a FARMC. These local councils have empowered fishers who had previously felt helpless and abandoned by politics. “Because of the creation of the FARMC, the fisherfolk’s perspective were challenged, provoking a changing of mind-set that gives more respect towards their resources, and installing a sense of ownership and responsibility,” shared former Mayor Arturo Maristela of Aroroy in Masbate. A commercial fisher in Lupon, Davao Oriental, Cristituto Decena admitted that he perceived the FARMC as “berdugo ng mga mangingisda" (executioner of fisherfolk) because they do not allow illegal fishing and apprehend users of illegal fishing gears. But when he became a FARMC member he began to understand the council’s purpose and the need to protect marine resources. There are many turnaround stories such as illegal fishers who are zealous protectors of the sea now and who volunteer to guard municipal waters against poachers and illegal fishing. ‘We used to look for the biggest and most beautiful corals to put the poison, but now we are helping find even the smallest corals so we can protect it by establishing a fish sanctuary,” says a self-confessed cyanide fisher who became a member of FARMC in Northern Lamon Bay. People now plant mangroves instead of contributing to their denudation and return marine turtles to the wild after tagging instead of eating or selling them. FARMC members are among the first responders to stranded marine mammals to guide them back to the sea instead of slaughtering and selling them. "It was the FARMC that became the vital key on how the fisheries resources of the community can be protected and managed properly," declared Jovy Francisco of the Looc Municipal FARMC.

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Gloria C. Diaz

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